We are about a week or so out from what many food lovers in the Portland area consider “the most wonderful time of the year”—the annual Feast Portland. This week I’ve heard a number of people compare Feast to Christmas, and local gastronomes are pretty giddy right now.
And understandably so—Feast Portland is a four-day extravaganza of food and drink with a big heart. The Feast website explains that last part: “Since its inception, Feast has donated more than $300,000 to help end childhood hunger in Oregon and across the country. In 2017 Feast Portland is proud to support Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon as its exclusive charity partner.”
I decided this year to be a volunteer at Feast. As I explained in July, over the years I’ve been to many of these types of food events as press. And while I know how hard the volunteers work, most of the time I take that effort for granted, to be honest. So, to refresh my perspective I’m putting in some sweat equity in exchange for experiencing part of Feast. I’ll be in Pioneer Square on Friday morning to help with setup for the Grand Tasting (tickets still available!) and on Sunday I’ll be on the east side helping out with Because Breakfast (tickets still available!).
I attended the volunteer meeting on Wednesday evening and learned a little bit about what to expect. Biggest takeaway: wear comfortable shoes, especially when it comes to the Grand Tasting in Pioneer Square. The ground there is very unforgiving and can be rough on the bod. I’ll be wearing my bright blue running shoes that have good support. Also—stay hydrated. Both of these points are useful for Feast attendees, too. Bonus tip: you’re not supposed to take the glasses home (unlike at other events, like the Oregon Brewers Festival).
That Pesky Price Point
I’ll also speak to the issue that’s been on a lot of people’s minds—the pricing for Feast. There are many voices that say the tickets are too expensive, that the price point is too high; to be honest, at first glance they do look expensive. But keep in mind that this is a charity event; traditionally, fundraising events often cost more because the price of the ticket factors in the charitable donation. By buying a ticket you’re not only accessing excellent local food and drink galore, you’re supporting a very worthy cause.
This year tickets for the various events range from $35 to $185 but the thing is, many events—especially the less expensive ones—sell out in a blink of an eye, which can be frustrating to would-be Feast attendees, especially those on a limited budget. I will put this out there—The Package at $570 is way out of my budget. But I hope people who purchased it feel they’ll get a good value.
And in case you’re curious, you can access some of the financials for Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon here. Bon Appétit, the presenter of Feast Portland, is owned by Condé Nast, a private company. Press on the donations by Feast can be read here (2012) and here (2015).
Feast By Blogger
If you plan on attending either of the Feast events mentioned above, please stop and say hello if you see me. I’ll be there in the butter-yellow Feast volunteer shirt. And because this is my first time at the festival and I have no prior first-hand knowledge of the event, I’m pleased to share a handful of posts by my fellow food writers who know much more about what it’s like to attend Feast than I do. In particular, Pech’s suggestion of bringing ziplock bags to store leftovers (truly, you only need one or two bites per sample) is so smart!
Feast Portland 2017 Fun Size Events [Urban Bliss Life]
FEAST Portland 2017 is Coming! [Vindulge]
It’s That Time of Year Again – Get Ready for Feast 2017! [LandingStanding]
Feast Portland 2017 [Pechluck’s Food Adventures]
FEAST Hands on Classes – QUIN Candy [The Spicy Bee]
Top Ten Tips for FEAST: Portland’s Annual Gastro-Gala [A Good Hearted Woman]
See you next week at Feast!